Guest Column: Total Immersion
So why are we still seeing so little truly great digital advertising?
I see two main hurdles for digital publishing players to overcome: We need to work together to develop and agree on the standards and metrics that reflect the unique opportunities of the medium. And we must think outside our traditional mindsets of Web and print and recognize that this is a new canvas and a new distribution ecosystem—and one that's growing so fast, ignoring it will simply not be an option in the coming months and years.
Today, many publishers and advertisers are reigning in creative instincts in order to adhere to Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) rules, which state that all content from the print publication—including ads—must be in the digital version to count those digital subscribers toward the publication's overall rate base. Many take that to mean simply dropping a static PDF from their print publications into their digital editions. But that is only the minimum required: You can present an entirely different version of an ad—fully optimised for the tablet edition—and still stay within ABC rules. You can also add enhancements to that print ad and still count it. For publishers, charging for those enhancements and working with advertisers to create great interactive ads is an opportunity to drive additional revenue into the digital version without losing the rate base.
At Popular Science, we were ABC compliant. But we also offered a limited number of enhanced ad spots to those advertisers—including Ford and Home Depot—that wanted to experiment with new forms on the tablet. We even took care of the ad creation (and charged a production fee to cover that expense) to lower the barrier to entry for those brands and their agencies. In doing so, we not only added incremental revenue to ad deals and increased ours and our clients' expertise by measuring and sharing the results, but also created some world-class ad experiences.